Thursday Sleep Tip: Nine Ways to Overcome the Snooze Button

I still remember my first digital alarm clock. It was big, had red numbers on it, played radio music for up to an hour as I fell asleep each night. Oh yes, and it had a snooze button.

 

I was a paperboy at the time. I had to get up early to get the newspaper out before school, and I hated that alarm clock. I would hit that snooze button again and again, like Apollo Creed pounding on Rocky’s face. Some mornings I would go 15 rounds before dragging myself out of bed.

Why do We Hit the Snooze?

Hard to Wake UpWaking up is tough for a lot of us. A few really annoying people are what are referred to as “morning people”. The clinical description for them is “insane”. As for the rest of us the cobwebs of sleep seem to cling to us, keeping a part of our brains attached to the pillow for a couple hours after awakening.

When that alarm clock sounds it is so tempting to hit the button, lie to ourselves and say, “just five more minutes”. Five minutes stretches to ten, which extends into twenty and even thirty or more minutes of the back and forth with that bloody alarm clock.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we were getting somewhere with this kind of sleep. The truth is, though, that at best we’re scrounging around in stage one sleep, which is not very beneficial and certainly not what we need at the end of a night of sleep. Rather than get us more rest, this kind of sleep panhandling will more likely addle our brains than perk us up. The question is, can we do anything about it? Yes, we can!

Nine Ways to Overcome the Snooze Button

A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day…This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! – Aragorn, Lord of the Rings

Storm Trooper Alarm ClockThe snooze button is the enemy. You’ve been enslaved by the snooze button for too long. It is time to stand up and do something about it. OK, maybe that was a bit much. But here are nine practical ways to defeat the dreaded snooze beast.

Get rid of the snooze button. Get a new alarm clock that doesn’t have one. In fact, Amazon.com sells many different kinds of unusual alarm clocks, all designed to help you wake up, at least more entertained, if nothing else. (Note, this is an affiliate link that will not cost you anything to use, but earns me a teensy percentage if you do use it.)

Place the alarm across the room. When it goes off you have no choice but to get up to stop it. This is my weapon of choice against the snooze beast, and it rarely fails me. In fact, the only time it does fail me is when I wake up and realize that I’m too sick to go into work anyway. I just set it on a dresser on the other side of the room and the jolt of waking up followed by running to the clock has me wide awake in moments.

Set a quieter, more peaceful alarm to go off 1 minute before the main alarm. I used to use this method and it worked very well. I used my watch for the first alarm. It was just loud enough to wake me up without waking up my wife, and I knew I couldn’t lie there more than a minute before the big angry alarm clock started yelling at me. The only reason I stopped was that my watch died and I got out of the habit by the time I replaced it.

Train yourself to not need an alarm. Believe it or not, this could actually work. In fact, I sort of use it alongside my other strategy. The body and mind get used to a certain sleep pattern. When you always go to sleep at the same time, you tend to also wake up at the same time. I usually wake up just a couple minutes before my alarm clock now. Just one more reason why consistent sleep patterns are important.

Use an alarm that wakes you up slowly. For example, a radio alarm awakens you gradually. As you can imagine, this is a much less stressful way to wake up, and you are more likely to wake up in a positive mood (though not so bad as those “insane” folks I mentioned at the beginning of this post!) In addition to waking you up more gradually, you also have no need to hit a snooze button because the alarm isn’t blaring like a fog horn. You can just leave it on and it will continue to gradually wake you up more and more, until a commercial comes on and you have to get away from it.

Alarm Clock DogsTrain your dog to wake you up. Dogs are very sensitive to schedules and important events, like breakfast time, walk time, going for a ride time, dinner time, going to sleep time and waking up time. If you usually get up at the same time your dog will learn this, and they’ll let you know if you deviate even one iota from the norm. Especially if breakfast usually follows shortly after waking up.

Set the coffee maker to start a few minutes before, so the smell draws you out of bed. Is there any better, or more natural way to wake up than to the smell of coffee? I don’t think so. The smell may be strong enough to wake you up on its own. Or, once the alarm has woken you up the smell may lure you out of bed more quickly. This one may not be powerful enough to solve the problem, but in conjunction with other weapons it can make for a very powerful arsenal.

Set the furnace/heater to come on early. The rising temperature will gradually wake you up. This has the benefit of a more gentle waking up, but is also more natural. Our early ancestors lived in environments where outside temperatures were more influential than they are today, and both the light of the sun and the rising temperatures contributed to a chipper morning.

Set a bright light on a timer that comes on the same time as the alarm. OK, what sadistic person came up with this idea, I’d like to know. Granted it will no doubt work. If you’re a glutton for punishment, give it a try. Or, if nothing else has worked for you this one is sure to do the trick. If it comes to this, though, I don’t envy you.

Well, that should about do it. Give these tips a try, and see what can be accomplished. You may choose to mix and match a bit until you get the best strategy in place.

I’ve given you nine ways to defeat the snooze alarm. So, I’ve left the 10th one to¬† you. Do you have a favorite way to wake up in the morning? Add it in the comments!

Happy Sleeping!

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